Shai Agassi, executive board member at SAP

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What’s in your pocket?A BlackBerry – I’m addicted to the little red blinking light, and a Nokia cellphone – I just love the form factor.

First crush? I would have to say Apple II. I started programming on punch cards and the thought of no longer needing to run back and forth to the card machine was liberating (although the computing capabilities did reduce my caloric burn).

True Love? Again I would have to say the Macintosh, which I programmed, built most of my companies around, and deserted only after Apple threw me out on the street in 1996.

Latest squeeze?Sony’s PSP. Every person who sees my new PSP has the same reaction. Their jaw drops and all they can say is “Wow”!

What makes you mad?I am frustrated by the poor quality of cell phone coverage in the Silicon Valley. It seems like we have not figured out how to build a cell network around the 280 freeway.

What’s your biggest tech disaster? I averted a potential disaster during my first large audience demo in 1998. As Bill Gates was walking up to join me on stage, my computer, with new beta software on it, froze in front of 6,000 people. Fortunately by the time Bill reached my demo station I was able to restart the machine and get the demo working again in order to deliver a flawless presentation for the next 10 minutes (although it felt closer to eternity).

What would you most love to see? I would love to see an endless, renewable, and inexpensive energy source. Preferably one that supports the gadgets in my pocket.

If money was no object? I would organise the ultimate software design party with 100,000 of our customers. Each would be equipped with a computer and the goal being to design the next user interaction paradigm.

PC or Mac? I would have to go with Mac. I use Windows for day to day work, however we have several Macs at home and my kids swear by them.

Linux or Windows? Windows for me, although during a vacation I built a Linux box from scratch in only one day and was very impressed with how easily it was done.

Google or not? I’m addicted to Google. It will be interesting to see how far they can extend their reach.

How wrong have you been? When I am wrong, I am wrong big time! For example, I didn’t buy Google shares on IPO however; I did buy an Apple Newton on IPA (initial public abuse) day. I thought it would be the next big thing, and I got so burned that I refused to buy a palm device out of spite for the category.

Company to watch? I firmly believe that the shift SAP has gone through with SAP NetWeaver created a wealth of opportunities for new companies. The one that has taken the greatest advantage of this situation is Virsa, an enterprise compliance solutions company. Watch this company closely as they will become a giant soon!

Leftfield technology-what’s going to come out of nowhere? I believe that the whole enterprise IT industry is currently going through a major corrective disruption, which will change the landscape for all the corporate “gorillas” and related companies in the enterprise space. SAP entered the platform game in 2003, shifting the balance in the market, and I expect we will see many additional switchovers in the next few years. I anticipate a big disruption in the store layers, where the database, document base, and multimedia stores will look very differently under Service Oriented Architectures and within a distributed enterprise with many connected devices. We can look for crossover points in memory versus disk and single store versus synch stores happening before the end of the decade.

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